“Do you have to do that now?”
She fiddled with the settings of the camera with one hand while the other held the blanket to her chest. “Now’s as good a time as any.”
He found himself staring at the camera lens.
“Why do you like taking so many photographs anyway?”
The shutter went off.
“Because,” she said, “moments like these don’t last forever, you know.”
The pebbled sidewalk led to the heart of town. People huddled in groups, laughing and chatting amongst themselves. Watching the familiarity between them, she drew in a quick breath as the ache of loneliness in her chest grew.
A drop of water landed on her cheek and when she looked up, the skies were darkening to a harsh gray. The steady drum of rain against the pavement drowned out the voices of the pedestrians as they hurried home. They each headed their own way, waving goodbye before breaking off in opposite directions.
She watched as the busy street became empty and bare. She stepped into puddle, drenching her ballet flats. The rain didn’t let up, her dress clinging to her delicate frame.
Making her way to the fountain that was the center of attention, she peered over the edge at the murky water, seeking her reflection. She stared at herself, her brown eyes seeking some sort of familiarity in a foreign city.
“I need to stop,” she muttered, looking away from him.
He took a deep breath. “Stop what?”
“Putting all these walls up.” She glanced back at him when he gave a weak chuckle.
“God Noelle, I could have told you that one. It took you this long to figure that out?”
The crooked smile on his face was a comfort as his words made her wince.
“You always told me I was a bit slow up here,” she said, tapping her head twice.
I recognized the leather jacket even thought it had been over four days since I had last seen the guy wearing it. Biting my lip, I couldn’t help flushing slightly as I thought of the possibility.
I hunched over my textbook and prayed that he wouldn’t noticed the girl in the corner of the bookshop.
When I counted to ten, I flipped a page and glanced at the front of the store where he last stood. He held a novel in his hands, reading the blurb on the inside front cover. I noted his lean frame and shaggy hair.
Then I furrowed my eyebrows as the girl that stood to his left bumped into him, intent on getting his attention. She couldn’t have been any more obvious, flipping her hair and apologizing with a knowing smile.
He leaned over, picking up the shopping bag that she had dropped. I could hear his low murmuring, but couldn’t decipher what he was saying. By the way she started giggling, though, I could only assume he told her one of his silly jokes.
Too busy being a jealous fool, I only noticed that my textbook was slowly slipping off my lap. It hit the ground with a loud thud.
Everyone suddenly looked towards me. I picked it up, pretending not to care, even though the color on my cheeks surely gave me away.
As I held the book securely, I immediately looked towards Luke. We made eye contact, and my eyes widened. Picking up my things as fast as I could, I made my quick getaway, stumbling through the group of teenagers gathered by the door.
I vaguely noticed how he turned towards her again, stuttering some sort of excuse before running after me.
God, I knew I shouldn’t have let him kiss me. He’s more trouble than he’s worth.